ell, I always rip through my Christmas gifts.
My wife bought this one for me – safe bet, since like a box of chocolates, there is always something good to find in an anthology. And happily, among all these offerings of scifi and fantasy, there were a number of good reads (and interestingly, there wasn’t a spaceship or a wizard to be found – modern writing, I suppose).
So, their great stories include:
Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience ™: A failing Indian man working in a VR park about American Indians presents a fake image of the Indian Experience, all while living the real one.
A Series of Steaks: An oriental woman in the near future is forced to 3D print perfect steaks for a ruthless mob boss. Can she get out from under his thumb?
Weaponized Math: A sniper in the future deals with a rapidly degrading situation, with rebels to every side. God, but I was thinking of Bobby Draper here.
All Systems Red: A cyborg with a human brain is stuck on a survey team that suddenly finds itself in a real dangerous shit-situation.
The Last Novelist (or a Dead Lizard in the Yard): The final author in a far future world sits down to write his last novel before dying and finds a very unlikely ally. Very sweet and moving.
Carnival Nine: Wind up toys in a wind up world deal with love, disappointment and death in their little house-floor world. This isn’t Toy Story – it will break your heart.
Small Changes over Long Periods of Time: A sex-changed person deals with the fallout of being bit by a vampire and seeing all that effort reverse out.
So there were other stories as well but the above shined for me. If you are looking for good grown-up writing (and not fan fiction of StarWars franchise crap) head over to your struggling bookstore and order this one up. I’ve got to imagine it’s still available. Good reads in bite-sized portions.